Category: Flowers: Wild and Otherwise

Queen Butterfly on Spike Verbena

Queen Butterfly on Spike Verbena

A butterfly I’ve never seen before — a queen — atop one of my all-time favorite wildflowers, spike verbena.


Prickly Pear Twins

Prickly Pear Twin Blossoms

It’s been an odd year. OK, I know that’s an incredible understatement, in so many ways, but Mother Nature has gotten into the act here in central New Mexico too. The yuccas didn’t bloom hardly at all (although they were amazing last year). The prickly pears also looked as if they wouldn’t bloom, or even bud — but then, they did bud, much later than usual. I don’t know whether it was because it was so late, or for some other reason, but most of the buds never really opened. These two were exceptions. I love their orange centers.


Wild Calypso Orchid, 2020

Calypso Orchid

There are years I see none of these orchids. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been there — they are so tiny and close to the ground, and grow only in the shadiest areas, that it’s incredibly easy to miss them. Despite that, I’ve noticed more this year than I’ve ever seen before. They seem to grow exclusively above 10,000 feet (at least in the Sandias) in areas where the ground is spongy and mulchy. It is probably only because I’ve figured out what the ground feels like where they live that I’ve seen so many: I feel the change in the ground first, then start looking for them. They are quite charming, I must say.


Wild Lupine

Wild Lupine

There’s plenty of lupine growing wild on the east side of the Sandias right now.


Turkish Poppy

Turkish Poppy

Some years the Sandia foothills are full of these poppies — which, although they grow wild, are not native to New Mexico (as their name suggests, they are indeed from Turkey). Other years, not so much. This year was a bit of a combination; there were bunches for about 10 days and then they all went away at once, courtesy of one (or more) of our recent howling spring winds.


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